Electronic health records: Their efficiency is up to you

Electronic health records: Their efficiency is up to you

Although increased efficiency and cost savings are a primary goal of electronic health record (EHR) adoption, results from a new survey show EHR processing may take time away from practitioners.

The survey, conducted by the American College of Physicians (ACP), found that attending physicians lost an average of 48 minutes per day due to EHR use.

In the ACP survey, 89.8 percent of respondents reported that at least one data management function was slower after EHR systems were adopted:

  • Approximately 64 percent said writing notes took longer.
  • Nearly 34 percent reported that it took longer to find and review medical records.
  • Just over 32 percent said it took more time to read electronic notes.

Time loss associated with EHR processing may also have an effect on optometrists. An AOA survey conducted in January 2012 found that nearly half of responding optometrists had adopted EHRs in their primary practice.

How staff can help make EHRs more efficient
One key to success for many optometric practices lies in the quality and productivity of the paraoptometric and practice staff.

Chad Fleming, O.D., AOAExcelTM Business and Career Coach, suggested that as systems and processes change to meet the new requirements of EHRs, "so do the requirements of staff."

Although staffing is an expensive part of running a practice, it could save ODs time and money in the long run, especially when it comes to EHR processing. Proper training—and the efficiencies that come with time and practice—likely can ease the kinds of concerns noted in the ACP survey.

In order to allow her technicians to seamlessly integrate Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) codes, Carey Patrick, O.D., took time to change the way exam templates were set up in her office's EHR.

She also has taken steps to train her staff in reporting and EHR systems and urges practices to do the same to optimize efficiency. 

"It took quite some time to customize the different versions—Pediatric, Adult, Special Needs, Medical Services, etc.—but it actually made the clinic flow quicker for all patients once it was completed. Looking back, it was worth the time and effort," says Dr. Patrick.

Learn more about staffing and office efficiency in the September 2014 edition of AOA Focus.

September 19, 2014

comments powered by Disqus